Intelligent inhaler designed to combat spiraling costs of respiratory disease
Asthma is a common long term inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath may occur a few times a day or a few times per week.
More than 300 million people worldwide suffer from either asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), with numbers rising rapidly driven by the ageing population. There is no cure for asthma but medication delivered in the form of aerosol sprays can be effective in treating the symptoms. Hospitals and care providers, however, continue to see low levels of adherence and poor and inconsistent competence using these devices.
This is where a Minnesota based company called 3M Drug Delivery Systems comes in with its 3M™ Intelligent Control Inhaler. The device, which is still under development, provides a number of benefits over standard inhalers.
The 3M™ Intelligent Control Inhaler relies on a combination of breath actuation with innovative technology to control inspiratory flow rate and actuate the drug delivery. This results in more accurate dosage delivery. The dose is only registered when the patient correctly inhales medication. This provides cost-savings to healthcare professionals who can avoid unnecessary switches and treatment escalation, and delivers greater accuracy of information for the patient. And the device is intelligent in that it records the times that the medication is administered, as well as other data about the patient’s breathing patterns. The smartphone app collects all this information and sends it on to the patient’s healthcare professional.
“Providing an effective and intuitive delivery method for respiratory disease treatment is critical to patients, health care providers and payers alike,” said Louise Righton, Global Marketing Operations Manager, 3M Drug Delivery Systems.
“Poor technique in using an inhaler, coupled with the challenges of getting patients to adhere to their medication protocols, can lead to exacerbations, increased use of health care resources and ultimately, a burden on health care systems. By increasing competence and adherence, we can realize better patient outcomes and reduce health care costs.”
The device will be developed in partnership with a pharmaceutical company, and is expected to be in wide use within the next few years.
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